Only rarely does Erev Pesach (the day that proceeds Pesach) come out on Shabbat. In those cases we are confronted with several problems stemming from the conflict between the needs of Shabbat and Erev Pesach. In this article we will try to understand some of the primary challenges and possible resolutions of these problems.
The issues arise primarily in two areas. One is the removal and disposal of Chametz, the second is the fulfillment of the requirement of three meals on Shabbat. In the issue of disposing of the Chametz we need to understand when the Bedikat Chametz (checking the house for chametz) is done and how to dispose of any chametz still in ones possession on Shabbat.
Since the ideal Bedika requires a candle or flashlight it is impossible to perform the bedika on the night proceeding Pesach which is Friday-night. Therefore the Bedika is done on Thursday night proceeded by the recitation of a Beracha. At the conclusion of the Bedika one says the Bitul (abolishment of chametz from ones possession) as would be said every year following the Bedika.
As for the Biur (removal of the Chametz) we find a disagreement amongst the Tanaaim. (Pesachim 49a) Rabi Meir is of the opinion that Chametz should be removed from ones home on Friday while Chachamim are of the opinion it should be done on the Fourteenth, Shabbat, as in all other years. The accepted opinion is to burn (the preferable manner of disposing of Chametz) the Chametz on Friday leaving what is needed for Friday-night and Shabbat morning meals. Though the Biur can be done any time on Friday, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 444/2) brings the opinion of the Mordechai and Tur that one should remove the Chametz before the time that Chametz would be prohibited on the fourteenth, to avoid confusion in future years. What ever is left on Shabbat must be removed before the time Chametz becomes prohibited. Removal of this Chametz can be done by flushing it down the toilet, or if that is not possible removing the Chametz into a garbage (only where there is an Eruv) and pouring on it some chemical which would render it inedible.
In the event that one leaves Chametz for Shabat the Bitul that is customarily declared at the conclusion of burning the Chametz, should be said on Shabbat before the time Chametz becomes prohibited. (Shulchan Aruch OC 444/6) If no Chametz is being left for Shabbat then the Bitul can be said on Friday after burning the Chametz.
In order to sell the Chametz the Rabbi must be given a proxy or the Chametz must be sold to him by Friday. The Rabbi in turn sells the Chametz to the non-Jew on Friday adding a clause to the sale that it does not include what will be eaten on Shabbat.
The primary challenge that Erev Pesach on Shabbat poses to us is fulfilling the requirement of three Shabbat meals. Since Shabbat meals by definition require eating bread we must start our meal with either bread or matzah. Each of these possibilities poses its’ own problems. As has been mentioned previously, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 444/1) writes that when burning the Chametz one should leave the amount needed for eating on Shabbat. This poses a technical challenge of preventing the Chametz from spreading. It also raises a question of what dishes should be used. Chametz dishes should not be used since we would have a problem washing them (washing dishes on Shabbat not needed for that Shabbat is prohibited) and storing them away before Pesach. Pesach dishes can not be used with bread, which is Chametz for obvious reasons. Therefore, the solutions are to either use disposable dishes (one should try to get dishes that are respectful to maintain the element of Kvod Shabbat), or to eat the bread in one contained place, clear it away and then continue the meal with Pesach dishes using food that is Kosher for Pesach.
The use of matzah is prohibited since we may not eat matzah on the eve of Pesach to guarantee that the first taste of matzah at the Seder is unique. (See Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe OC 155 as to when this prohibition takes effect, concluding not to eat beginning the evening of the fourteenth.) Therefore regular matzah may not be used for the Shabbat meals. A possible solution is the use of matzot made with fruit juices or eggs, which may not be used for the Seder. This solution raises certain other problems. Does this constitute bread for which the berachah of Hamotzi is recited? What is the status of egg matzot? Yet, Rav Feinstein was of the opinion that this was not only an acceptable solution but preferable to the use of bread. (Igrot Moshe OC 155)
The most acute problem that Erev Pesach on Shabbat poses is fulfilling the requirement of eating Seudah Shlishit (the third meal of Shabbat). Though there are opinions that fish and meat or even fruits may be used for Seudah Shlishit the accepted ruling of the Shulchan Aruch is to eat bread unless that is impossible. Ideally the third meal should be eaten after midday (to be precise from the time of Mincha about half an hour after mid-day) though on this Shabbat bread is prohibited at that time. The Shulchan Aruch suggests the use of egg or fruit juice matzot. These should be eaten before the tenth hour of the day so that one will have a proper appetite at night for the matzah. The Rama writes that in Ashkenazik communities such matzot are not eaten on Pesach and they should not be used after the time Chametz is prohibited. (For a different understanding of the Rama see Aruch Hashulchan OC 444/5) He therefore states that we should treat this as a situation where bread can’t be eaten and suffice with fruits or meat. (see Magen Avraham 444/2 and Aruch Hashulchan for discussion on whether meat or fruit are preferable for this purpose.)
Other suggestions are to eat two meals with bread or matzah made with egg or fruit juice before the time Chametz is prohibited. Though this means that the third meal is eaten before midday, according to this opinion eating bread takes precedence. (See Mishna Berurah 444/8) Alternately one may use cooked matzah such as matzah balls (knaidlach) though most poskim write that this option was never accepted.
Finally it should be noted that there is an opinion, based on the Zohar, that exempts one from eating the third meal on this Shabbat. The basis of this opinion is that as on Yom Kipur, which comes out on Shabbat, there is no requirement to eat three meals, so too on this Shabbat there would be no need for a third meal. (See Aruch Hashulchan 444/6)